I have a small thing for a few crime shows on television. I happen to like all of the Law and Order series a lot and I watch CSI Miami both because my wife likes it and I tend to find it amusing, albeit unbelievable (trust me no one can get a DNA sample analyzed and back in under an hour and no one can find fingerprints that are actually useful on 99% of the things they find them on in the show). But last night's CSI Miami (May 3, 2010) reached some new heights in misinformation that I have to take them to task for.
Guess what it was about: A jewel heist of course. So a bunch of guys go in and rob a jewelry store. Ok that's understandable. It happens more than most people imagine (more money was lost in jewelry thefts in 2008 than in bank robberies in the United States). Of course someone gets shot in the theft, and while I don't want to spoil the plot, it happens, ostensibly because the guy--a customer-- gets up and challenges the bank robbers (a no no for everyone by the way). Okay so far I'd say.
But then the robbers get away but CSI is able to track one of the vehicles used to a location where they find all of the diamonds from the pieces taken in the theft scattered across the ground outside the warehouse that was used! So apparently the criminals went in, stole all of this jewelry, pulled out all of the diamonds and left them behind and just took the gold! Now if that isn't stupid I don't know what is. Admittedly, most criminals really are stupid. But as the program develops what they seem to have decided is that the gold (which they mistakenly said was over $1200/oz---something it hasn't quite hit yet although it is getting close) was more valuable than the diamonds. One of the spurious claims made was that all diamonds are marked now and could be traced because of this. Consequently the criminals didn't want to keep them.
Admittedly many diamonds (and all of the Lazare Diamonds that I sell) are laser inscribed with an identification number, and it has become fashionable to laser inscribe many other stones with their certificate numbers if they have one but the concept that almost all of the diamonds had inscriptions is ludicrous. Additionally, any serious criminal (and these people were made out to be very serious ones pulling heists all over the country in a similar fashion) would know that these inscriptions can be polished out if necessary. They would also know that most of the diamonds don't have any, so to leave somewhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000 (both of these figures were used so I'm not sure which they actually meant) worth of diamonds lying behind on the ground is just idiotic. Also for the quantity of stones left lying behind, if it was only $100,000 worth (the figure used most often), then none of the stones left behind would have been large enough to warrant having a number engraved on the girdle. But please, never let it be said that reality is what they are shooting for on these shows, or that the show producers (or at least their technical advisers) are any smarter than the criminals. I just hope the general public doesn't decide to believe any more of this nonsense than they already do.
This is an addendum on June 2, 2010. Gold has hit and exceeded $1200/oz periodically since this post was originally written, so maybe they were a little prescient.